Working at a dental practice entails a lot, so we often stray from focusing on ensuring our patients keep coming back. This can be the mistake that prevents your practice from growing and reaching its full potential.
When patients are not making their recall visits, setting treatment plans, or scheduling their next appointments, there’s a serious issue within your practice. You must pay attention to how many patients are not coming back and try to tune into why that might be.
If you believe you have too many patients who don’t reschedule, here are three simple ways to ensure your patients come back.
1. Know how many patients are walking out the back door.
The first way to ensure your patients come back is to take the time to figure out how many patients are “walking out the back door” and not rescheduling appointments or continuing with treatment.
Keep analyzing your weekly metrics. Make sure you are tracking your accounts receivable week to week. Take note of whether that number is increasing or decreasing.
Once you know that, you can start to analyze why some of your patients aren’t returning and implementing systems to fix that.
2. Create an experience worth coming back to.
Next, put yourself in the shoes of your patients. Think about the experience they have when they come to your dental practice. How could you improve?
You want to ensure that your patients are getting a consistent and high-quality experience every time they come in.
This can be as simple as offering coffee and tea to your patients in the waiting room or setting up essential oil diffusers around the office. Maybe you invest in massage dental chairs or provide various snacks in the waiting room.
Don’t hesitate to ask your patients for feedback on their experience with you and what you can improve on. Providing the most comfortable experience for your patients is key, especially because many patients get anxious when they have to come in.
3. Focus on verbal skills and training for your dental team.
Many times, the issue lies within our lack of verbal skills. It can be intimidating to confront our patients and discuss what might be holding them back.
More often than not, the main reason why patients don’t reschedule is that their insurance doesn’t cover the entire treatment and they cannot afford it. This is when our patients need us to put things into perspective for them.
We can discuss how much insurance does cover and what the treatment will mean for them. You don’t have to seem like a sneaky salesperson, but be able to relate to your patients and truly connect with them.
Make sure your dental team is trained in verbal communication. This is an extremely effective way to get more patients to keep coming back.
Get more patients coming back.
Take action today and start to implement these three ways into your practice today to get your patients back in the office.
It can be way too easy to get stuck in your ways of doing things around the office, even if it isn’t necessarily the best, most effective, and productive way. But when things in your practice become stagnant, so does growth.
To kick start growth for your practice, you need a strategic plan and systems for holding your team members accountable and emphasize growth. That’s why we are sharing three systems that help you create more accountability and achieve even greater growth in your practice.
1. A Systems to Create a Healthy Team
Creating a healthy team is the most important part of having more accountability and growth in your dental practice. Without a trusting and understanding dental staff, you won’t be able to continue holding each other accountable.
Accountability comes from having everyone on the same page and feeling able to openly discuss their performance. This requires an open and comfortable environment. One way to build that open and comfortable environment is to start holding morning huddles. By their nature, morning huddles give you an opportunity to connect with your team members before the day gets hectic. This creates a healthier space to discuss any challenges than trying to catch someone for two minutes in between patients.
Another way to create a healthy team is to put systems in place for holding everyone, including you, accountable. When everyone is intentional in terms of accountability for themselves and others, and you have systems in place to help do so, accountability becomes much easier. This allows you to empower your team when they're successful and make sure that you are all on track to hit your practice goals.
2. A Circle of Focus to Create Clarity
Invest in something you can physically hang in your office that you and your team can write on to identify and track practice goals.
An easy option is to hang a whiteboard in your lunchroom. The focus of this whiteboard is to grab your team members’ attention and help them focus on achieving practice goals.
Having a whiteboard with production targets and other goals will force you to discuss your metrics with your team members and hone in on what areas need improvement. It also creates clarity in your goals and gives you a way to hold everyone accountable for the behaviors that need to happen to hit the goals.
For example, it can be as simple as looking at your patients who are unscheduled, looking at the services you provide, and what marketing techniques you are implementing, and whether they are working. The whiteboard gives you a snapshot of productivity and gives you an opportunity to praise what’s working and empower your team to perform while also holding them accountable for what’s not working.
Finally, a whiteboard helps your dental staff reflect on their performance and ask for help when needed. And you can even write down incentives on the board for when your team hits goals to make it even more motivating for your team.
3. A System for Becoming Intentional About Growth
Once you have your circle of focus, you can start to become even more intentional about growth.
Start by analyzing your metrics and records to determine where you could be making more money. Also, make sure you have systems in place where everyone knows their key performance indicators and where they stand production wise.
With that information, start a supportive and helpful conversation with your team about how you can grow. Growing your practice should be a team effort and a supportive exercise. Be careful not to blame any one person for missed opportunities. Rather, be supportive and helpful, ensuring the conversation is a safe one where you determine together what you can do as a practice to grow. From there, start shifting your focus into training your members on the skills they need to improve.
Be sure to have a system for having a weekly meeting where you can look at the goals from your circle of focus and plan any adjustments needed.
Are your systems structured to achieve practice growth?
You only need three types of systems to build more accountability and kick start practice growth. You need one system to create a healthy dental team, another to create focus, and another to get everyone more intentional about growth. With these in place, you’ll be well on your way to growing your practice.
If you're looking for solutions to grow your practice and take your practice forward, join me in the Dental Boss Movement Facebook group where you can connect me and thousands of other dentist professionals helping each other grow.
As practices open back up from pandemic shutdowns, scheduling patients is becoming more of a challenge. We have to consider that we want to practice social distancing inside of our practices. We have production targets and financial obligations. And, of course, we need to safely care for patients.
As you begin to have more demand on your schedule, these challenges will become tougher to overcome. But tough doesn’t mean impossible. And with the right scheduling strategies, your team can take care of all the details. Here are four ways your team can schedule patients to remain productive and safe.
Utilize time blocks.
Just because we can’t have as many patients in the office at once, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be as productive. As we're looking at our post-COVID schedule, we want to have in our mind how we can see fewer patients while having higher production. You can have more production and collections in your business going forward because you’ll be focusing on getting more patients to do higher value procedures and to have fewer patients in the practice through time blocks.
The idea is to schedule out the procedures that typically take the longest first and work backwards in order to fit everything within your schedule. Be very strategic. For example, if you're using a third-party tool such as Dental Intel, create a filtered list of all patients below the age of 60 who have been seen within the last year and have unscheduled perio scaling and root planing. These patients are behind in getting care and need to get back in because they are the least healthy in terms of oral health. We want to give them priority as we essentially have a clean slate.
You can even color code your time blocks so that is easiest to read. In my practice, red is most urgent and so as we're filling our hygiene, we want to fill our red blocks first, and then we want to fill our yellow blocks, and then we want to fill our green blocks. Your longest procedures will be more urgent and therefore in the “red” and your quicker procedures will be either yellow or green.
Get help from your dental assistants.
Make sure you utilize your dental assistant anywhere you can. Have them help out in areas where they can so that your dental hygienists can focus on the tasks the assistant can't do.
Having dental assistants for our hygienists allows our hygienists to focus on what no one else can do, such as the scaling, and root planing. The assistants are typically doing things like taking x-rays, taking internal photos, showing videos if we want to show an educational video, having those discussions, finding out their chief concern, and then they transfer the information over to the hygienist.
Dental assistants are very important to your practice, especially if you use them to their full potential. In fact, without their help, it would be nearly impossible to recover from the pandemic. Make sure your dental assistants are aware of how much their help means to you and the whole team.
Make an overflow room.
Having an overflow room will benefit your practice beyond recovering financially. This is an efficient system that should be utilized in every practice.
Here’s how it works in my practice. We have an overflow room and so patient number one will be in one room. When the next patient comes in, the assistant will get them started in another room. This allows the dental hygienist to be able to go straight to that next patient and a team member can properly clean the first room to get it ready for our next patient.
The other thing to take note of here as well is the stagger between blocks, between our two hygienists. This prevents having a bottleneck at the front desk and waiting area. Make sure time blocks do not start and end at the same time. There's a staggered approach there.
With staggered schedules and an overflow room, you can better manage the flow of patients in your practice. You also ensure every room is cleaned properly before a patient goes in.
Communicate well with patients.
Communicating well with patients is a skill your dental team members should practice daily. Especially during times like today where we can’t schedule as many patients as we used to, it is important our patients understand this and understand why.
Make sure you’re honest with patients. Let them know you want to be able to give them first priority but you are doing the best you can. Tell them you have a new system and your practice is prioritizing the longer procedures so you can have fewer people in the office and keep everyone safe. Be honest with your patients and they’ll most likely understand.
Are you ready to help your team succeed in scheduling patients?
Once you implement these easy tips, your practice will be as efficient as ever. You and your practice will have adapted to the new changes and positioned to succeed. Even better, your team will be leading the charge to building a safe, productive, efficient practice.
What are your goals for your practice in 2021? Do you want to grow and be more profitable? That tends to be on most dental practice’s goals list.
The issue is figuring out the best way to do that. Most dentists believe that by increasing production, they will become more profitable. While there is some truth to that, it is not the best way to grow a practice. The key is to focus on maximizing the revenue you’re already bringing in.
Increasing your production won’t affect your profitability if you don’t have solid systems in place. The problem a lot of dentists have is not that they need more patients. It’s often their collection percentage that’s at fault.
Your collection percentage is the percentage of funds that you not only produced but also collected. For your business to be profitable, this number needs to be as close to 100% as possible. Unfortunately, oftentimes it’s not anywhere near that.
How do you figure out where the money is falling through the cracks? Here are five key areas to check.
1. Investigate your adjustments.
Oftentimes, we don’t realize how much money we are throwing away just through adjustments. You should be taking a look to calculate how much money you are adjusting and determine if it is worth it.
How many times do you give discounts to friends and family or people in your community?
Be honest when analyzing your adjustments. Are you giving away too much?
2. Check your statements.
Are your statements being sent out efficiently? Our practices can get so overwhelming, and sometimes we forget to send out our statements for a while.
Your patients could be waiting on their statement for weeks and months and even forget about it altogether. They could be perfectly happy to pay, but they aren’t even aware of it.
If you’re looking at your collection percentage monthly and see that it’s dipping, this is one of the metrics you need to check.
3. Appoint someone to deposit checks.
If you have checks coming into the practice, are they being input in a timely fashion? Is your team busy doing other things that they don’t even have time to get to the bank?
Make sure that you have a specific team member who owns this process and a system for reporting on it regularly. This will ensure that your checks are getting deposited and you aren’t taking time away from your dental teammates.
4. Consider your electronic payments.
Maybe you have e-payments coming in, but they aren’t being entered onto the ledger. This means there’s a discrepancy between your bank statements and your practice management software.
When you analyze your collection percentage you may realize there’s a difference between your production and collections.
From there, you can look into why these discrepancies are occurring and fix them.
5. Take a close look at your fees.
It is possible you aren’t charging enough for procedures.
It can be shocking to calculate your profit margins for each of your different procedures.
Calculate your expenses and divide your monthly expenses into the number of hours you work. That will give you a cost per hour.
Then, you can look at the time it takes to do each procedure and how much the supply costs are. If you aren’t making a profit, or breaking even, there is an issue and you know to raise your fees.
Are you ready to grow your practice and become more profitable?
Make sure your money isn’t slipping through the cracks. You don’t have to get more patients and work overtime to increase your profitability. Make sure to check those problem areas to ensure you aren’t giving away money.
Many practices often prioritize getting new patients instead of focusing on their existing patients. While it is always a good idea to get new patients, if you don’t focus on the ones you already have, you’ll lose them and end up treading water, at best.
In fact, it takes about five to twenty-five times more effort to get new patients than it does to properly serve and retain your existing ones. Here are five strategies to make sure you get your dental patients to keep coming back to your practice.
Figure out what you want your practice to be known for.
This is the most important aspect of building your practice. When you know what you want to be known for, you can build your practice with that in mind and have an actual vision of your goals.
This will also help patients understand who you are as a dental practice. If you want to be known for offering high-end services and quick efficient appointments, you know you have to prioritize getting the tools and resources to make your practice high-quality and efficient.
As you're building your practice, you have this interesting and unique ability to manufacture what you want people to say.
If you want people to know your practice for being extremely comfortable and relaxing, you know it would be wise to invest in a massage dental chair and some essential oils.
Let patients know what you’re known for.
Once you know what your dental practice is known for, utilize this to your advantage. Go on Facebook Live and share on different social media platforms the unique characteristics of your office that make you “the most comfortable and caring dental office,” if that’s what you are going for.
This will not only attract new patients but also remind existing patients of what sets you apart. Make sure to explain to every new patient who you are as a dental practice and what makes your practice unique. And take the time to reinforce and remind new patients about what they get from you that they won’t get elsewhere.
Involve your patients in all of your community based marketing initiatives.
First and foremost, get involved with your community if you aren’t doing so already. This alone will get your practice’s name out there and attract new, local patients.
This could be anything from sponsoring a 5k race to volunteering at an animal shelter. When you show your local community that you are involved and caring, they are going to connect with you and likely tell others about you and your practice.
The best part is, you don't have to focus on Google ads that are $2,000 to pay Google at an agency. You don't have to worry about $5,000 mailers. You are attracting real, genuine people by getting involved.
Once you implement marketing within your community and your patients know what you're known for, and they're telling others, you can not turn that off. This is a continuous referral source that will help you gain loyal patients.
Directly communicate with your patients.
When you are about to post on social media or go on Facebook Live to share something about your practice, you should be directly communicating with your patients.
You can go to your patient email list and email everyone a link to your Facebook live. This will increase the views and visibility. And part of that is asking people when you're on Facebook live to actually share this video with everyone that they know who are their Facebook friends so that others can participate as well.
You can directly send or hand out flyers to patients. This will allow your patients to see that you're doing something great for the community. This is a great way to let patients know of any events you are having and to keep them updated and involved.
Another great way to involve your patients is by sending a monthly email. This can be photos from last month's community and campaign announcing what you're going to do in the next month or the current month, and also sharing an educational article.
Earn, collect, and share glowing testimonials.
When you are running your dental practice the way you envisioned it, you may begin to notice patients are more eager to share their amazing experiences.
If you’ve invested in making your practice uniquely good, don’t be afraid to ask your patients to honestly review their experience in your practice. If they have some concerns or suggestions, consider them, and make your practice even better. If they rave about the wonderful experience they had, don’t hesitate to ask them for a testimonial.
Once you have these testimonials, they are just yet another thing you can share on your social media platforms or in the monthly email newsletter.
Are you confident your patients will keep coming back?
It's one thing to be able to do marketing campaigns, to be able to get in front of our patients. It is much harder to learn how to keep them.
When you’re looking for information, what’s the first thing you do? You pull out your phone or pull up a web browser and go straight to Google. Well, guess what? Your potential patients do exactly the same thing when they’re looking for dental information or to find a new dentist.
Google is the number one search engine, but it’s so much more than that. It’s the default we all turn to when we need information. That’s why I’m going to tell you how you can turn all of those Google searches into an amazing marketing tool for your business, and it’s only going to take you about five minutes to set up using Google My Business. Here’s how.
Update and customize your Google My Business page.
You might already have a Google My Business page set up for your practice, but many practices are not making the most of their pages. If you’ve never taken the time to customize your business page, you definitely want to do that. Start by updating your business hours, adding an online scheduling link, and verifying your location so people can pop it right into their GPS or navigation app and find you.
But if you want to really get the most out of Google My Business, you’ll want to take things one step further and add some real, live video testimonials to your page. That way, when potential patients land there, they’ll be able to see your happy patients talking about their amazing experiences in your office.
If you don’t already have video testimonials, the next step will be to start collecting them. If you do, here’s how you can easily collect even more.
Ask patients about their experience at the end of each visit.
If you’re already a part of the Dental Boss Movement, you know I’m a big believer in the importance of asking your patients about their experience at the end of each visit. This is really important information to have, in general, because it helps you and your team focus on consistently providing an exceptional experience every single time.
And when you are focusing on delivering that WOW factor with every single patient, it’s a good bet that your patient will say, “Yeah, this was a great visit.” Utilize any constructive feedback to improve.
Ask your happy patients to record a short video testimonial.
When a patient raves about their experience, ask them to record a short testimonial on the spot. Keep it simple. You can say, “Well, you know, we’d really love it if you’d let us record a quick video with you to talk about how things went today.”
Emphasize that there are a lot of people who are afraid to go to the dentist, and hearing from real people like them might just change someone’s life. More often than you might expect, patients will spare two or three minutes to film it quickly.
Upload the video to your Facebook and Google My Business pages.
Once you record that video, start sharing it on social media. Get it uploaded to your Facebook page, maybe repurpose it for an ad. You can target the people who watch it with a special ad campaign.
Also, take that same video and upload it directly to Google so anytime someone lands on your listing, that video review pops up. You don’t need to edit it at all. Just use the same video. It is very reassuring for potential patients to see a real patient talking about the incredible experience they had at your practice.
Even better, if you get into the habit of uploading videos to your Google My Business page regularly, your listing will really stand out from others. Very few people realize that Google even offers this option. So while other practices might have an ordinary listing with practice hours and maybe a map, you’ll have a page that really establishes you as an authority.
Add other videos to your Google My Business page so patients get to know you better.
You can add all kinds of videos to your page so don’t stop with only testimonials. Anytime you’re running a community campaign, if you’re helping raise funds for a local charity, or if you go live on your Facebook page to talk about dental care, you can download that video and re-upload it directly to your Google My Business page. You can download any video you record live on Facebook with just a couple of clicks. Uploading them directly to your Google My Business page gets you double the exposure and traffic without any additional work.
What's especially great is that you can then add buttons to your page, so people can schedule an appointment or call the practice with a single click. That’s very helpful when someone’s on mobile.
Are you using Google My Business to grow your dental practice?
If you build out your Google My Business page the right way and make it easy for patients to find your practice when they search on Google, you can start to see a regular flow of patients come from Google searches.
If you’re looking for training or coaching for your team to accelerate your growth, click here to learn more. And if you want to join a community of Dental Bosses just like you, I have a Facebook group where over 1000 Dental Bosses are already learning and growing. Join us in the Dental Boss Movement Facebook groupU.
You’ve likely heard that in order to grow your dental practice you’ve got to get out there and be visible. But no one tells you what you’re supposed to do if you’re an introvert.
I’m about to let you in on a secret: you can get more patients into your dental practice even if you are an introvert who tends to avoid the spotlight.
I’m a really private person, and believe me, I’m much happier in my comfort zone. But I know just how important it is to get out there and share my message, my training, my experience with dentists like you, so I do it.
Here’s why it matters so much to step out just a little bit and how you can still build and grow your practice even if you’re an introvert.
If people don’t know about you, you can’t help them.
If you’re anything like most of the dentists I know, you got into this field because you really want to help people. You’re in the smile business, so naturally, you care about your patients, and you love that you’re able to improve people’s lives. I want you to remember that, to hold onto that, as you listen to what I’m going to tell you.
You have a gift. You are an amazing dentist. You’ve taken the time to learn all kinds of specialized skills. And you’ve invested in courses to learn how to place implants or Invisalign or to put on sealants or to treat sleep apnea.
You’ve also improved your patients’ lives and saved marriages. You’ve given people the confidence to smile and speak in public.
You’re a really important person. Your hands are amazing, and you can do beautiful dentistry.
There’s only one problem: If people don’t know about you, you can’t help them. So you must get the word out. If patients don’t know you exist, you can’t help them.
So here’s how to get the word out, even if you’re an introvert.
Go live on Facebook and speak from your heart to the people who need to hear you.
I know exactly how terrifying that sounds. But you’ve done much harder things in your life, and what I can tell you is this: I’ve worked with thousands of dentists. The fastest way to get you to overcome those fears, introverted tendencies, and shyness, is to get started. The easiest way to start getting out there and connecting with the people who need to hear from you is to take a leap of faith and do a simple Facebook Live.
To make this super easy for you, let me give you a simple structure to help you plan your Facebook Live videos:
1. Speak from your heart.
Introduce yourself, tell people that this is the first time you’re doing a Facebook live, and let them know you’re nervous, but you’re doing it anyway, because you want to share this information with them. Then, tell them why you became a dentist and why you love serving your patients.
2. Acknowledge their fears.
Let your patients know that almost everyone has some anxiety around going to the dentist, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Reassure them that you’re not mean or scary, and that your office is actually a welcome place. Let them know what they can expect when they come in.
3. Invite them to connect.
Ask your patients to drop any questions or concerns they have in the comments on your video. Then follow up with each one and send them a personal invitation to come into the office.
Yes, your first Facebook live will be a bit scary. But it was probably also a little bit scary the first time you treated a patient without relying on a more senior doctor for backup. You had to put on your brave face and push through, so you did. It gets easier — and you get braver.
Plus, you get to help more patients who need your talents by making sure more people know about you and hear your heart for helping.
Are you ready to get more patients to your dental practice?
Way too many introvert dentists force themselves into less-effective, ineffective, or expensive marketing because they don’t believe they can use the most effective dental marketing strategies. But I know you can.
Start with this pattern and use Facebook to grow. Speaking from your heart will be much easier for you than trying to force yourself into some hype-filled video. Talk to your future patients, just like your webcam is a patient in the chair. And, if it helps, script out your video or use bullet points to help you get more comfortable.
And if you want to join a community of Dental Bosses just like you, I have a Facebook group where over 1,000 Dental Bosses are already learning and growing. Join us in the Dental Boss Movement Facebook group if you want support and training as you grow your dental practice.
Just like with any business, hiring is one of the most important parts of a dental practice. If we don’t put the right systems and strategies in place when looking for new members for our dental practice, we’ll end up with the wrong people on our team.
Bad hires are extremely costly. They lead to a high turnover rate amongst your staff—not to mention other problems like poor productivity—and can be super costly. Good hires, on the other hand, are the key to consistent performance.
That’s why these three steps are so important. We need to start before we hire people to ensure we keep bad team members away. Then, with the right ones on our team, we use the critical first week of work to get them on the right track for success. Here’s what to do to ensure you get the right people on your team and train them to become future superstars.
1. Make the expectations of the job clear before you hire them.
When we’re interviewing a potential employee, we need to ensure they understand exactly what roles and responsibilities come with the job. It’s easy to tell an applicant that they’re applying for the role of being your office manager, for example, but that’s a very general statement. The applicant might not know the unique tasks and duties that come with being an office manager for your specific dental practice. So, by making the job expectations clear, they’ll know whether they’re equipped with the right skill-sets to handle the position they’re applying for right off the bat.
And, just as importantly, any potential team member should have an understanding of your practice’s core values before they become a part of it. In fact, for my practice, during the interview and/or on the pre-interview application, we actually ask our applicants about which of our core values resonate with them the most.
2. Focus on orientation during the first week and continue training them for six weeks.
The first six weeks someone works with you is critical. During the first week, you’ll teach them the most important aspects of working with your practice. Make sure they can set goals. Teach them shutdown and start-up procedures. Have them read the office manual. Walk them through what’s expected of them in their role. Because all practices are different, we can’t assume they know what’s expected of them in your practice. Way too many practices assume someone with experience at another practice will jump right in and know what you want them to do. That is almost never the case, especially if you have invested in building a practice that does things differently to deliver WOW to patients.
After the first week, test them on what they learned and continue training them. Ask them to give you an office tour. Have them shutdown and start-up your office. As they learn, add additional responsibilities and give them additional training. Provide educational videos from your favorite CE curriculum—like our Practice Accelerator Program—so they know how to succeed.
3. Get your team involved.
As you build an amazing dental team that delivers WOW, you can start elevating your star team members to become leaders, too. In my practice, for example, we have a lead dental assistant who helps and supervises other dental assistants to set them up for success.
One of the roles and responsibilities of my lead dental assistant is to go through the training and onboarding process with new hires. A dental practice gets busy, as we all know, and doing all the onboarding and training can be a bit too tedious for the practice owner or office manager to do by themselves. Getting your team involved by delegating the process to members of your team who can serve as role models can really free up your schedule and pave the way toward better productivity overall.
Are you training your dental team to set them up for success?
Putting new-hires through the right onboarding and training during the first week and throughout the critical first six weeks can be the best investment you make in your practice. Be sure to include onboarding as well as training and testing hires about what makes your practice different.
As dentists, we’re visionaries, and if having an automated dental practice is something you’ve dreamed of for your practice, you might be surprised to learn it’s not very difficult to put in place.
If you want to create an automated dental practice, you only need a few pieces in place. After all, a vision alone won’t help you achieve your goal. You also must take action and hold yourself accountable as you pursue your goal. Here are the three pieces to put in place if you want to work toward building an automated dental practice.
Buy a whiteboard to automate setting and hitting goals for your dental practice.
Of all the strategies I teach dentists to grow their practices, using a whiteboard is one of my favorites. It’s simple. It’s effective. There’s no tech to learn. Best of all, it’s very lost cost, often less than $10.
I know whiteboards don’t sound very sexy or exciting, but this tool can change everything in your practice. With it, you can publicize relevant key performance indicators and see at a glance whether you’re on track to hit our targets. Even better, everyone in your office can see progress in real-time and is held accountable without any uncomfortable conversations.
The public nature of the whiteboard helps people avoid falling behind and encourages others on the team to support each other so the group hits all goals. That means you don’t have to go around talking about production or letting people know they’re behind. As long as the whiteboard is updated everyone on the team can work together to set and achieve important practice productivity goals.
Automate communication among team members.
With your goals on track, the next step to automating your dental practice is automating communications among your team members. In my practice, automating communication means using a project management tool called Asana. It’s a free online tool where we can record and manage information, share resources, and easily assign tasks to team members.
With Asana, we can even automate weekly check-ins so every team member can give a quick update on their tasks and progress. We can assign specific to-dos from inside Asana and automatically update everyone who needs to know. And then we can quickly review people’s to-dos, see what’s still open, and figure out why something hasn’t been done. Even better, if someone on the team needs my specific feedback on a task, they can just tag me in Asana in the same way they would tag a friend on Facebook. I don’t need to set up a meeting or even be in the office to review and respond to their question.
Automate your dental practice marketing.
Automating your marketing is an extremely powerful part of automating your dental practice because it will drive new patients into your practice on an ongoing basis. What’s so amazing about automated marketing is that once you’ve set it up, it essentially runs itself—it requires very little time or money on your part.
Automating your dental practice marketing is simple. You just need to do two things. First, set up dental marketing funnels to and Facebook ads to key audiences that drive traffic to your funnels. In my practice, we’ve built out multiple marketing funnels. They’re easy to set up and require no work from you after the setup. Through funnels, we send people to quizzes to prequalify them. At the end of the quiz, we offer patients the opportunity to come in and talk to us or leave their email so we can communicate with them. With these in place, high-value dental practice leads hit our inbox on a regular basis.
Do you want to build an automated dental practice?
Automating your dental practice doesn’t need to be complicated. A simple whiteboard can help you set and more easily achieve practice goals. Asana can make team member communication easy. And automated dental practice marketing can keep patients coming in on a regular basis. With those three pieces in place, your job as practice owner will become much, much easier. Even better, your team will be set up for success. They'll be able to continue to perform without you needing to be there and get involved in everything.
If you want more help with your practice, join our community of Dental Bosses just like you, in the Dental Boss Movement Facebook group if you want support and training as you grow your dental practice. More than 1,000 Dental Bosses are already in there learning and growing together.
While a dental practice is a business, dental school doesn’t teach us much about collecting payments and managing operations.
That’s what continuing education is for. And that’s what Delivering WOW is here for, too. We have helped thousands of dentists strengthen their practices while delivering WOW experience to each of their patients.
But we want to continue to be able to deliver WOW, we need to ensure our businesses are financially strong, too. And one of the most important parts of becoming financially strong is empowering our team to collect payments from our patients well. If you’ve struggled with collections in your practice, here are three tips that have helped my practice and many others improve.
1. Set up a system with which you can monitor whether your collections are under control.
By the time that many practice owners take a glimpse at their AR (accounts receivable) or collections, things have already spun out of control without them even knowing. They’ll find out that patients didn’t pay on time because their dental team failed to follow up properly about that patient’s claims. Now they have to break some bad news to that patient, and things can get ugly. It’s embarrassing—and frustrating for the patient—to call them to let them know they actually have a balance due or that you’ve misquoted their payment from the very beginning. Chasing them around and demanding money make you appear unprofessional and can stir up some drama that might lead to a bad review online or worse. So, I recommend you utilize a system that helps you to track your AR from week to week.
If you follow my blog, social media, or podcast, then you know I’m a huge fan of using scorecards. They can help you stay on top of productivity goals, measure metrics, and more. They’re just a great way of tracking numbers, and one of those numbers can actually be your AR. Using a scorecard to track AR has been super effective both in my practice and for many members of my platinum program. When we can use a scorecard to track AR on a consistent basis, things won’t spin out of control because your dental team will be on top of your collections numbers. When they see things spiraling out of control, they can let you know and you can decide how to counteract any chaos from erupting.
2. Be prepared to keep your collections in control by utilizing a process called “amnesty.”
If things do end up spinning out of control, it’s time to work the amnesty process. Amnesty helps us get back under control. Here’s how it works.
Say you suddenly realize that your AR is $50,000. Some practices turn those accounts over to a collection agency or, even worse, just write it off. That’s not a good idea—you're writing off $50,000 or selling it for pennies on the dollar. You could have used that money to pay for your kids to go to college for a year.
Instead, contact patients who have an overdue balance and let them know their account has come up for audit. Tell them you are giving them a courtesy call to help them out and to clear up their balance. Offer to lower the balance if they pay in full.
Perhaps they have a balance of a thousand dollars. Rather than charge them the full thousand, lower the amount that they have to pay so they don’t have to go to collections and you can create a true win-win. They pay less than they owe and avoid collections. You get guaranteed money and often at a higher price than what you would get through a collections agency. Many patients will gladly pay a smaller portion or go on an auto-debit to pay off their balance to avoid being sent to collections.
3. Put in place a reliable and effective means of getting in touch with your patients.
As surprising as it might seem, being unable to easily get in touch with patients is one of the most common problems I hear from members of my mastermind. They’ll tell me, “Anissa, our patients just aren’t responding. They see our calls and won’t pick up.” While phones are a great way to put yourself in direct communication with a patient, don’t make it your only contact method. If you can, use text messages and emails to start conversations. Especially with text messages, your messages will get noticed. Send them a text or email that lets them know there is an urgent message from their dentist and that you’d like to speak with them on the phone as soon as possible.
When a patient sees an ominous-sounding message like that coming from their healthcare provider, they’re more likely to give you a call. In all likelihood, they’ll even be a bit nervous. So, when the patient calls your practice and your dental team member speaks on the phone with them, make sure they make the purpose of the call immediately clear. Have them calmly greet the patient using all the right social cues and explain that the purpose of the call is to help the patient save money and resolve their balance. Once they understand what’s going on, your team member can proceed to get the patient’s credit card information and begin to sort things out via the amnesty process. If they don’t call back right away, send follow-up messages and call their phone to make sure they get your message. With people being so busy, if your message hasn’t been returned within a couple of days, it’s unlikely that it will be without additional follow-up.
What are you doing to ensure your payments are under control?
As dentists, we must work creatively to ensure the revenue we worked so hard to attain gets paid. When it comes to collecting payments, we must give our team members the tools and resources they need to collect payments well. Scorecards, amnesty, and multiple methods of contact can help everyone stay on top of accounts receivable. What works in your practice?
For most businesses, the pandemic has made it a real struggle to keep afloat. Quarantining and social distancing have led to an absence of eager customers for almost every industry and profession. People are trying to stick it out in their homes and avoid getting infected with Covid-19, so they’re just not going to go out shopping or seeking services unless they really need them.
While things are slow for the vast majority of businesses, it’s safe to say that dental practices are definitely amongst those struggling the most. Patients simply don’t want to come in to get treatment unless it’s urgent. It makes sense; providing dental treatment is a very up-close and personal thing. While healthcare providers are typically great at being diligent with sanitization, some people just don’t want to take that risk.
Unfortunately, it’s not surprising to me when people come to me and tell me that their dental practice isn’t just struggling but is actually in the process of failing. Does that sound like you? Are you hustling like mad to get patients in the door only to find yourself coming up short at the end of the month? Trust me, you’re not alone.
In fact, I have some awesome news for you: I can help you turn your failing dental practice around. It’s nothing too complicated, either. These are just a few simple, amazing strategies that can do wonders for your practice. If you’re interested, keep reading!
1. Buy a whiteboard.
This sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? I can almost hear you thinking: “How could buying a whiteboard turn my failing dental practice around!?” Believe it or not, though, something as simple as a whiteboard can be the key to unlocking profitability, efficiency, and, subsequently, the growth you need to turn your failing practice around.
An ordinary whiteboard—one you can buy at any office supply store for a few bucks—is responsible for doubling my practice revenue. It’s done the same for hundreds of dental bosses all over the world, too. It’s not the whiteboard itself, of course, but what you do with it. And what you need to do with it is use it each month to track individual services, set goals for those individual services, and then shoot for the stars with each coming month.
Start by listing all the services you offer on the whiteboard.
Set target numbers for the month based on your revenue goals and write that number in RED.
Every day, mark down the number of that service that your practice has completed month to date in BLUE.
When you hit the target you’ve set, change the BLUE number to GREEN.
Your goal is to change all of your blue numbers to green by the end of the month. When you get every blue number to turn green, you’re meeting productivity goals—which means you’re at least keeping your practice afloat.
But ending the struggle isn’t the objective; I want you to turn your failing practice around. So, next month, aim higher. Make those numbers larger. As each month passes and you keep turning those bigger and bigger numbers from blue to green, you’ll notice your practice is doing better than ever before.
2. Deliver a WOW customer experience.
At Delivering WOW, we’re all about providing each and every one of our patients an experience that WOW’s them. When we can make them feel like VIP’s, they’re bound to become raving fans of our practice who are quick to refer us to their family and friends.
That means our patients don’t just become loyal, they refer other patients who are likely to become loyal too. Having a dependable and ever-growing influx of patients coming through your practice doors is a big deal. You’ll be increasing the productivity of your practice — helping you hit those whiteboard targets each and every month. Any practice owner knows productivity is what paves the way for profitability and growth.
3. Give your team extensive training.
If you want your patients to be enthusiastic about the results they see after coming into your practice to receive dental treatment, you can’t be the only one WOWing them. Your team must, too, through the treatment they provide and the care they show your patients. The best way to achieve this is to provide your team with the right training. When your team improves their craft and can provide amazing results for your patients, your patients will be happy with their care. And when your team treats them like a VIP every time they walk through the door, your patients won’t ever think about going anywhere else for dental care.
When training your team on procedures, make sure to also train them in the benefits of the procedures so they can better connect with patients. So, don’t just give your team the right training in crowns. Make sure they understand the benefits of crowns, the different types of crowns you offer, and the long term effects if recommended crowns are not completed. Also give your team training about how to socially interact with your patients. Your team should be able to show before and after cases, answer questions, and refer patients to the proper resources. Train your front desk to handle phone calls effectively. Train your assistants to do preliminary work—X-rays, impressions, etc.—that allows you to be in and out in a jiffy. Set up your team for success, and you’ll see the results you want to see.
Need to turn around a struggling or even failing dental practice?
Turning a struggling practice around boils down to production and consistently delivering WOW experiences. And the key to doing that isn’t diagnosing more patients or bullying them into accepting unnecessary treatment. You just need to put the right systems in place and make sure all your team members are on the same page. If you do, you’ll get the results you want while better serving your patients.
Also, if you want to join a community of Dental Bosses just like you, I have a Facebook group where over 1000 Dental Bosses are already learning and growing. Join us in the Dental Boss Movement Facebook group if you want some support and training as you grow your dental practice.
If there’s one thing every dental practice needs to grow, it’s patients in the chair. Some need more patients. Others need patients in need of higher-fee dentistry. And others need more fee-for-service patients.
If you’re worried about where your next patient is going to come from, rest assured that you are likely just one or two referral strategies away from growth. These are three of my favorite ways for dental practices to get patient referrals.
1. Tell a story that’s easy to share.
When you talk about your practice in marketing materials, with patients, or in the community, are you telling a story that’s easy to share? If not, you’re missing out on an incredible opportunity to get current patients and others to promote your practice for you. Make it really easy for people to talk about you and your practice and they will start doing so.
For example, we want people to talk about my practice as being somewhere patients look forward to going. So we focus on creating an incredible experience andalso give patients ways to talk about that experience. One way we do so is by giving new patients an office tour and a chance to connect with a team member one-on-one. During that meeting, our team member talks about our core values and shows them the cool and fun technology we invest in to provide the best care possible. We make it simple for them to understand what makes us special.
When doing this in your practice, point out the details to your patients and why those details matter to them. You can say things like:
We invest in these items to create a spalike experience for you and help you relax.
At the end of your treatment, we’ll give you a warm peppermint-scented towel to refresh you.
While you’re waiting, you can flip through our coffee-table books.
All of the artwork in the office was done by local artists.
Let your team members show their personality. If they’re talking about the practice’s core values, they can share what means the most to them, and why. If they’re showing the coffee table books or the office art, they can point out one they particularly like or share an interesting fact about one of the local artists. When they’re talking about the overall experience, they can relate their own stories of dental anxiety — and how they moved past it.
2. Ask patients for referrals.
One of the biggest mistakes dentists make is not asking for referrals. It doesn’t need to be awkward or rude to do so, either. Whether a patient has come in for the first time or the 50th time, we highly recommend asking for referrals. It’s totally natural to ask for referrals, even from brand new patients, especially if you are investing so much time and energy to create a WOW experience for your patients.
At the end of each appointment, ask your patient, “Did you have a good experience today?” They’re highly likely to say yes. When they do, it’s completely natural to then ask for that referral. Help them out by calling to mind specific people they can refer to you. For example, we give patients two business cards and ask them to give them to friends, family, coworkers, or a new neighbor who might enjoy a similar dental experience. It’s that simple. You can also ask patients to post about their experience on Facebook and tag your practice. Many patients will happily share a post about their experience.
3. Create a patient referral program.
Encourage patients to refer people to you by creating a referral program. Give them coupons or gift certificates they can give to friends and family and they will likely be even more delighted to refer people to you.
Give your program a fun name, like Share a Smile or The Smile Exchange, and make sure that every person on your team tells patients about the program. For example, you could have your team members tell new patients that you have a referral program that your patients love because it allows them to share their WOW experience with loved ones while giving them something of value like a coupon or gift certificate. That message will get them starting to think about who would be a good person to refer to your practice. Then, at the end, hand them the coupon or gift certificate after asking about their experience.
Are you ready to get more patient referrals to your dental practice?
Patient referrals validate everything we do as a practice and keep us consistently growing without any marketing required. We just treat people well and they refer other people to us. That’s the ultimate compliment about the experience we work so hard to create.
It all starts with treating patients to a truly WOW visit and putting in place simple strategies to get them thinking about referring others to you.
And if you want to join a community of Dental Bosses just like you, I have a Facebook group where over 1000 Dental Bosses are already learning and growing. Join us in the Dental Boss Movement Facebook group if you want support and training as you grow your dental practice.
Coming out of dental school, many new doctors gravitate to spending thousands of dollars on expensive branding and marketing services in an effort to grow their practice fast. While strategic Facebook marketing for dentists is a wise investment, spending thousands on complex marketing strategies is often not wise, especially for newer doctors.
A much better alternative to grow a practice fast is to focus in your own community. Form relationships with other businesses in your community and you can earn more referrals and build a strong reputation as a community destination. Here are three ways you can support local businesses in a way that helps you grow your dental practice.
1. Form strategic alliances with local businesses.
With a strategic alliance, you partner with local businesses who serve the same people you want to serve and create offers to encourage their clientele to come to your practice. For example, my practice often partners with a local bridal shop to offer brides a deal on teeth whitening. We’ve also given a local Day Spa and Optical $50.00 gift cards to give to customers who spent over a certain threshold or who purchased specific spa packages.
Each of those arrangements was true “win-win-win,” benefiting our practice, the other business, and the other business’ customers. We benefited by being able to earn new patients with a special offer but no advertising costs. The only cost to us was a little bit of our time reaching out to the local businesses.
The other businesses benefited by being able to offer greater value to their customers (our deal) without costing them anything. And the other business’ customers benefited by getting a deal with a dental practice that will treat them like a VIP!
2. Engage in host beneficiary promotions.
Host beneficiary promotions were huge for my dental practice in the early days. They work similar to strategic alliances with one key difference. Specifically, instead of offering something of value to the business’ customers, you make a new-patient offer to the business’ team members and their families.
Host beneficiary programs work well with local banks, investment firms, bakeries, and even local associations, especially ones that are smaller or mid-sized that don’t offer many benefits to their team members. Similar to strategic alliances, host beneficiary promotions allow other businesses to add value to people important to their business without costing them anything. At the same time, we save money and get new patients because there’s no advertising costs involved, only the cost of the offer itself.
We recommend starting by choosing one local business a month and deciding whether to grow from there. After identifying the local business, call up the office manager and let them know how the program works and that their business has been chosen for that month.
When we were doing host beneficiary programs on a regular basis, we had to hire an additional hygienist to serve all the new patients!
3. Use local business products and services in your practice.
Another great way to grow your practice is to use local products and services in your office and to proudly display the local connection. For example:
If you have a local gourmet coffee roaster, consider stocking their beans for some of your gourmet coffee and tea offerings.
Give pastries from a local bakery to your patients.
Display local artwork and invite them to host art showings at your practice.
Use furniture from local manufacturers in your waiting room.
Subscribe to community-produced magazines and newspapers.
Don’t let those five ideas limit you, though. Look for local options for other services you purchase in your practice.
As you integrate local business products and services, promote those relationships through your social media channels. This can be as simple as posting a picture of the local coffee bean with a caption that reads “We love our locally-roasted Pete's coffee beans at Beautiful Smiles Dentistry.” You could also post pictures of the local artwork with a caption saying how much you love walking by the local artist’s beautiful painting every day.
The options are endless. And most of the time, they won’t cost you any significant additional money to utilize local businesses. In fact, you may find some local business owners who will offer their products or services at discounted rates, and sometimes free, for the opportunity to be displayed to your patients.
How will you grow your business fast while supporting businesses in your community?
Supporting local businesses will help you develop deeper relationships, attract more patients, and build a stronger local brand. These three examples can help you get started growing your business while serving your community well.
If you want more help, join my community of dental bosses where dentists come together for support and action taking tips and motivation. Join today for free.
How much would you pay for a strategy that could help you generate $15,000 or $20,000 in a single day? I know a lot of people who would pay a lot of money for a strategy like that, including me.
But how much you pay to learn and implement a strategy doesn’t always correlate with how much money you make in return. In fact, one of my favorite tactics to teach practices is how to use a simple whiteboard to increase their income quickly. By the way, never feel bad for wanting to earn more. The more money we make, the more we can invest back into our practices and the bigger impact we can make in our communities and for our family.
The total cost to implement that strategy is nothing. Your return could be unlimited. Here’s why whiteboards are so powerful and how to use them in your practice.
Use whiteboards to keep everyone accountable.
The first reason whiteboards are so powerful is simple. They work. They hold everyone accountable by keeping your monthly targets front-and-center. They give everyone a “month at a glance” view of where we are in our practice. They show everyone what’s important and where to focus for the rest of the month.
About ten years ago, I developed a process of how to use Whiteboards to reverse engineer increasing practice revenue. And the year we implemented the strategy, we tripled our practice revenue. Since then, I have coached many practices on how to use this method of using whiteboards. When implemented correctly, practices often increase revenue by thousands in the first month alone!
Use whiteboards to help you set goals proactively.
Many practices set goals based on old information. They wait for the end of the month, look at the numbers, and reflect on what happened. The problem with that is the time already passed. There is nothing you can do to improve that performance. In fact, by the time you reflect, you are already a couple of days into the next month, again reacting to what happened instead of choosing where to focus.
I fell in that trap before I started using whiteboards. Now, I look at all my services and calculate historicals of how many procedures I do of each service. From there, I set goals of how many of each procedure I want to do for the following month.
When you’re tracking things proactively, you have much more control. You can think more strategically and if you realize you’re not hitting your goals, you can take action in real-time. For example, your front desk can send out a newsletter to your patients to highlight a particular service you are wanting to do more of in your practice. You could also record a Facebook Live video talking about the three ways missing teeth are being replaced by your patients and the risk of not replacing your missing teeth. Or, you could increase Facebook ads into an Invisalign dental marketing funnel. Your options are endless.
Use whiteboards to achieve immediate returns.
Recently one of my clients shared a really big win with me. She had just finished a $20,000 day. When I asked her what made that happen, she said it was using her whiteboard. It all started when she realized her practice was way behind in their monthly crown and bridge goal. The whiteboard let them know they were behind in real-time so they could adjust right away. So they took action and started calling patients.
They didn’t call patients randomly by their name or date of their treatment plan, though. They called people based on their monthly goals. In this case, they called people who had bridges in their treatment plan. That would allow them to do multiple units. They quickly filled up their schedule and the $20,000 day came to be.
Are you using a whiteboard to increase your practice income?
Technology, systems, and dental practice software get a lot of attention, and for good reasons. They can help you plan, grow, and operate a WOW dental practice. But don’t forget about low-tech options like whiteboards to keep you and your team accountable. They can help you increase your income quickly.
We put so much time, effort, and money into our practices to create a WOW dental experience for patients. But before we can deliver that WOW experience, we need to hire a team to help us execute.
It doesn’t matter how beautiful your practice is, you need amazing team members to execute on your vision for your practice. When hiring, it’s not enough to just look at skills and credentials. You need to go deeper than that. You need a team of like-minded individuals who share your values and are just as excited as you are about the business.
A strong team of loyal, motivated people working together in the same direction can overcome even the toughest challenges. It will help you delegate what you don’t want to do and take time away from your practice without worry.
Here’s how to identify the right candidates to help you build a practice that delivers WOW experiences to patients every time they walk through the door.
Step #1. Know where you’re going and how the new hire fits into that vision.
The first step for any good plan is to know where you want to go. For every potential hire, ask yourself where your practice is going in the next three to five years and how the position fits into that vision. Do you want to grow to have multiple doctors in the future? If so, adding team members who are excited about growth and supporting additional doctors will be a plus.
Step #2. Identify and rank the traits, qualities, and skillsets you need.
Write down the traits, qualities, and skillsets needed for each position you want to fill. Do you need someone who is detail-oriented? Outgoing? Calming? Extra patient? Do you need someone with specific training? Specific experience? Specific skills?
Write down everything that comes to mind. Once you have all the qualities in mind, rank them by priority. Be sure to identify your non-negotiables. Non-negotiables are traits, qualities, and skills someone must have for the position. This could include a certification or license, a particular personality style, specific experience, or even a particular availability.
If you need someone to work on Saturdays or who can travel with the practice for CE, for example, Saturday or travel availability would be non-negotiable.
Step #3. Prescreen candidates before you interview them.
Interviews take time. Before interviewing, screen candidates to avoid you or a candidate taking time to interview for a position that won’t be a good fit. Before I invite people in for an interview, I ask them to take a personality test and answer pre-interview questions.
Different positions fit better with certain behavioral tendencies. Introverts and detail-oriented people, for example, are great for positions that involve accounts or ordering supplies. Outgoing and talkative people generally fit better at the front desk.
Be sure to include position-specific questions in your pre-screening. For example, if you know you need someone to take on a specific role in the practice, such as social media, make sure your new hire will be not only comfortable but excited to take on that task.
You can address these issues in the pre-interview questionnaire. My pre-interview questionnaire asks candidates several questions. We ask what they know about our office. We ask why they’re leaving their current position. And we ask where they see themselves in five and ten years. If traveling is important, we ask whether they can travel for training. If specific availability is important, we ask whether they’re available to work evenings or Saturdays. And if a specific personality trait is important, we ask whether they consider themselves shy or outgoing. Finally, we ask their desired salary. The way they answer these questions helps us know whether we want to interview them.
This form saves a lot of time and money.
Step 4. Conduct more than one round of in-person interviews for candidates who pass the initial screening.
Finally, I recommend you do at least two rounds of in-person interviews for candidates who make it past the pre-interview screening.
The first interview should involve you and the office manager. If you and your office manager are both excited about the candidate, arrange for a second round with key coworkers.
The second interview is almost an orientation. Its goal is to see how your other team members feel they’ll get along with the new candidate. This helps ensure a great interpersonal fit in addition to the technical and personality-style fit for your new candidate.
How do you find the best dental team member candidates for your practice?
Building an amazing team is one of the most impactful things you can do for your dental practice. In many ways, it’s at least as important as your business and marketing strategy. For some practices, it’s even more important.
Many dentists make the mistake of overlooking their team and the importance of the hiring process. Your team is who you and your patients interact with every day. Without them, you don’t have a business.
And if you want to start your practice in what we call the comfort-zone level of dentistry, I can’t help you. But if you want to start your practice off on the right foot from the start and avoid the common pitfalls, I invite all dentists to join our Dental Boss MOVEment Facebook Group.
I've helped a lot of practices become more fulfilling and profitable practices. Throughout that time, I've helped some practices make big transformations in a short period of time. I've also watched some practices struggle for long periods of time.
To some people's surprise, the difference between practices that succeed and those that struggle has nothing to do with ability. Having proven systems and strategies helps. The practices that have used the proven systems and strategies we teach get the benefit of years of experience from practices around the world. They get the benefit of learning from other people's mistakes—and successes. It's much easier to make progress when you know the systems and strategies have worked for others. But I've never met a practice leader who couldn't improve their practice. Every practice leader I've met has had the ability to lead incredible change to make their practice more fulfilling and profitable.
So why do some practices succeed while others struggle? Oftentimes, the answer is simple: The practices that struggle either do nothing or try to do too much at once. The practices that succeed do so begin by learning and taking action in small bits. Here are three reasons why learning and taking action in small bits has been the secret to success for so many practices.
Learning and Taking Action in Small Bits Gets Easier Buy-In
It's no secret that running a dental practice takes a lot of work—even more work than most businesses. With many businesses, owners spend all day managing the organization. Practice owners need to do all that work and often still treat patients.
It's not just practice owners who have so much on their plates. Team members have a lot of work, too. This is especially true for PPO practice team members, who must navigate insurance relationships and manage patient expectations regarding out-of-pocket costs.
With so many pressures on our time and energy, asking practice leaders and team members to implement big changes at once can be overwhelming. Asking them to learn one or two small changes for a short period of time makes it much easier to get team members on board. This is one of the reasons our 21-Day Marketing and Practice Growth Challenges have been so popular with practices. The idea of doing small daily challenges for three short weeks is a much smaller ask and something most people feel they can do.
Making Changes in Small Bits Helps Clarify Action Steps
If your only goal is a long-term one, it can be hard to know what to do in the short term. Longer-term goals tend to be bigger and have multiple moving parts. With those, it's hard to know what to do next. Continuing with the goal of increasing revenue, you could advertise, take CE to start performing more higher-fee procedures, network with local business owners, and more. Your options are endless.
But what if you decided to increase revenue over the next twenty-one days? That shorter-term goal limits the number of things you can do. And that forces you to be more strategic. If you wanted to double your revenue this month over last month, what could you do? You could call patients with unscheduled treatment plans and get them scheduled. And you can set up a whiteboard to get your team all on the same page for increasing productivity.
Small Changes Add up to Big Results
With your whole team bought in and working together, you will begin to see improvements right away. Those improvements will add up to big positive changes in your practice.
Nobody runs a marathon 26.2 miles at a time. They run it one step at a time. Eventually, those steps add up into miles and those miles turn into a marathon.
The same is true with changes in your practice. You can't double your annual revenue in one day. But you can increase productivity in a day. And you can increase it even more the next day, and the next, and so on. Over time, those little increases add up. If you want to get big results, start by taking small steps and making small changes.
Are you ready to make big improvements in your practice?
If so, start small. But start! If you want help, consider signing up for my next 21-Day Marketing and Practice Growth Challenge. We'll help you and your team get started taking small steps toward big improvements in just twenty-one days just like we've done with nearly 200 practices.
In just twenty-one days, they built relationships with other businesses in their community. They also broke through fears of video to connect with new and existing patients. They launched successful marketing campaigns and planned out marketing campaigns for the next year! And they created tremendous buy-in from their teams.
I’m thrilled to welcome Steve O’Leary, the Project Consultant at APEX Design Build, onto the show to talk about the best processes for designing and building your ideal dental practice.
Steve is a natural born leader and dedicated to delivering high levels of customer satisfaction with help from his positive outlook on life and great listening skills. He has worked at APEX Design Build for almost three years and is super passionate about the company and what they stand for.
Apex Design Build is a fully integrated design, architecture, and construction firm that specializes in creating state-of-the-art healthcare facilities. Their motto is as enduring as it is simple: Your practice made perfect.
On the podcast we discussed…
Everything you need to know about APEX Design Build Vs. Design Bid Build and what each involves
The importance of having a high level of communication during the new buildout process
Questions you should ask before hiring a team to help you build a new practice
The impact that a well-designed dental practice can have on your patients
What to expect when you hire a firm like APEX Design Build
How long a typical build project tastes at each phase
An estimated ballpark figure of building a typical dental practice
Taking the first steps towards designing and building your own practice
If there is one thing that has been consistent with me, it is that I am always doing a lot of things. I run my dental practice. I see patients. I run Delivering WOW. I do Facebook marketing.
And I want to do my best in all those areas. I work hard to be the best business owner, dentist, and marketer I can be. I implement best practices, hire coaches, outsource, delegate, join mastermind groups, and more.
But at the beginning of 2018, I decided to take things to a whole new level. I set a big goal to grow my dental practice by 40%—in just one year—and all while working only one day a week.
I knew it would be hard, but I also knew it was possible as long as I applied the best business lessons I have learned. Here are those lessons.
Shifting to a “How Can It Be Done” Mindset
Had I asked myself, “How can I grow my practice by 40%,” I would be looking for ways that involved me working harder. That was not my goal. In fact, I wanted to grow by 40% while working only one day a week. So, I shifted my thinking from “How can I grow my practice by 40%” to “How can growing my practice by 40% be done.”
That simple shift took the focus of achieving the goal off of me. That mindset was important for me because I have a history of wanting to do everything myself. I wanted to be in charge of everything myself. I wanted things done my way.
But I realized there was only so much I could do. If I needed to have my hands in everything, much less would get done. When I shifted to a “how can it be done” mindset, I started looking for things my team could do to achieve that goal. I also started focusing on what processes I could create to make it easier to empower my team to help achieve that goal.
How the “How Can it be Done” Mindset Helps Make the Impossible Possible
Another benefit for the “How can it be done” mindset shift is that it makes the impossible seem possible. If I had asked, “Can I grow my practice by 40% in one year while only working one day?” a perfectly natural response would be “no.” But a yes or no answer to “How can my practice grow by 40% in one year with me working only one day?” feels unnatural. Our brains do not respond that way.
Asking, “How can my practice grow by 40% in one year with me only working one day?” tricks your brain to assume what you want to achieve is possible for just a moment. That is often all we need to get our creativity working for us.
In my case, when I asked, “How can the practice grow by 40% in one year with me only working one day?” my answers became clear:
I would have to be very strategic about ensuring team members knew what they needed to focus on to grow.
I would need to get accountability tools in place.
I would need to identify the key metrics that result in massive growth.
I would need each team member to take ownership of one key metric.
My mind filled with answers that made the impossible seem possible. Once I wrote down all my ideas, I started implementing. I explored how I could create processes and use the people on my team to be able to achieve the growth I wanted.
I committed to getting out of the way, becoming a true leader in my practice, and empowering my team to perform. I put accountability tools in place to help people stay on track. The impossible suddenly became very possible.
The Results of My 40% Dental Practice Growth Challenge
Many people who hear about me wanting to grow my practice by 40% in one year while only working one day per week think I am crazy—at least until they hear the results. So, how did it work?
We did it! Some months were better than others. Some months were incredible. But after shifting from my instinctive “how can I” way of thinking to “how can it be done,” the seemingly impossible became possible—and then got done.
Are you ready to grow your dental practice more in the next year than you ever dreamed possible?
While my results might seem extreme, I was not alone in achieving massive growth last year. While putting my 40% growth plan together, I challenged my Inner Circle mastermind members to do the same. Throughout the year, we walked alongside each other, step by step as we all worked to grow our practices by 40%.
We shared systems, processes, tools, and strategies to produce more while working less, without losing sight of our culture and practice vision. And we were excited to celebrate with many of our Inner Circle members who accepted the challenge and achieved similar results.
Remember, when it is not about “Can I” but “How can it be done,” the answers appear and the impossible becomes possible.
To learn more about implementing systems and processes to boost productivity in your practice, check out the team of expert coaches, training, and resources we offer in our signature Delivering WOW Platinum Mastermind Program.
And if you want to find out how you can get me and my team by your side for 21 days to help you implement this simple shift with actionable tasks and to-do lists to see the growth and results in your practice…click here to learn more plus use the code CHALLENGE to get 20% off at checkout!
I’m delighted to introduce my special guest, Justin Krane, onto the show to discuss how you can achieve complete financial and personal freedom.
Justin is a money strategist for business owners. His mission is to help business owners understand the money side of their business. He teaches entrepreneurs how to be strategic with their finances so that they can grow their businesses.
But, Justin isn’t about cutting back and living a frugal life. Justin is all about getting out there, buying the shoes, eating that sushi dinner, and living the BEST life you can – while saving for the future!
On the podcast we discussed…
Justin’s story as a financial advisor and the journey that led him to restart his financial life and empower others to achieve financial freedom
The importance of clarity as a small business owner and how to attain it
How to make sure you’re not just making sales, but you’re also making a profit
Understanding cash-flow and tracking how much money you have in the bank and your incoming and outgoing cash
Why you should consider doing a “cash-flow forecast” on a monthly or weekly basis
Planning for taxes with help from your CPA
Why you should invest 10% of your Gross Profits towards marketing your business
Determining your personal salary and why it should be somewhere between 30% to 50% of your business’ profits
Justin’s top tips for growing your small business
How to decide if a financial investment is worth the risk
The benefits of automating money to and from your business/personal account
If you’d like to find out more about Justin Krane and how he can help you to be more strategic with your business finances, visit kranefinancialsolutions.com or get in touch with him via his Facebook page.
To watch a short video trailer of the episode where Justin is talking about managing your business finances and achieving financial freedom, hit play below:
If there’s one thing that controls the direction of your dental practice, it’s consistency. If you and your team do consistently well, you’ll build an amazing practice. If you do consistently poor or are inconsistent, you’ll never reach your practice’s full potential.
Building more positive consistency into your practice doesn’t need to be difficult either. In fact, it can make life easier for you and your team while improving your results. Here are two ways to improve consistency in your practice.
Get your team to take responsibility for practice tasks.
Accountability is one of the best-kept secrets of the most successful people in business and life. Think about how many people set New Year’s resolutions each year only to give up after a month, week, or even a day.
While sometimes the problem with New Years’ resolutions is that people set a goal without a plan, oftentimes, the real problem is a lack of accountability. Say you want to lose weight. You might set a New Year’s resolution to lose 30 pounds next year. Even without a complicated plan, most people know they’re likely going to have to eat better and get more exercise to achieve their goal. In other words, most people who want to lose weight have some vision of a plan.
The reason most weight loss resolutions fail, however, is people lack accountability. They have nobody encouraging them to follow through with their goal. They have nobody supporting them in eating better or exercising more. In fact, the support communities that usually come with organized programs are often the main reason many people have at least short-term success with organized diets. There’s no one perfect diet. There are a bunch of diets that help people lose weight. When people sign up and get held accountable through support networks, they lose weight.
The same is true for your dental practice. One of my favorite productivity tools we use in my practice is a simple whiteboard. We use it to write goals for procedures and hold each other accountable for completing the tasks that allow us to hit our goals. This is important. If we want to place 50 implants one month, we don’t just recommend implants to people. We market to attract implant patients. We follow up with patients who have talked with us about implants. We check in with patients who we think may be interested and invite them in for a consultation.
The act of using a whiteboard this way and checking in with our team to see where we are throughout the month helps hold us accountable and keeps our goals top of mind.
We don’t just list various goals for procedures, new patients, and the like. We also ask each team member to hold everyone accountable for one or two of our goals. We then write who is responsible for each goal next to it on the whiteboard so everyone knows.
For example, one team member might be in charge of holding us accountable for crowns goals. That person would do things such as follow up on crown marketing funnels and marketing. They would remind doctors and hygienists when they’re scheduled to see patients who may need a crown. They would also make follow-up phone calls with potential implant patients.
Having each person take primary responsibility for one or two goals does two things. First, it makes sure no task or goal gets overlooked. It’s sometimes easy for five people to each assume one of the other people is performing a task only to realize nobody was. Second, it spreads out work and allows each person to focus on one or two tasks. Together, this helps you ensure each goal for your practice is being consistently pushed forward.
Give your team a safe place to address patient issues.
Another important part of your practice where consistency matters is the way you deliver WOW experiences to your patients. For example, in my practice, we offer headphones and iPads to patients to take away the sounds of our tools. This helps ease people’s anxiety along with some of the other things we do to create a spa-like atmosphere. It’s one of the things that makes us different.
If we don’t consistently provide headphones and iPads, or gourmet coffees and teas, or warm towels, or any of the other things that help us deliver WOW experiences, we’re not us.
One morning, a patient mentioned that they weren’t offered headphones. I didn’t know why they weren’t offered headphones. Maybe the batteries were dead. Maybe a pair or two was broken and we needed to order more. All I knew was a patient wasn’t offered headphones.
With everything going on in a practice, it’s easy for issues like these to be forgotten. But we use our whiteboard to get to the bottom of all these issues while they’re still minor.
Right next to our list of practice goals, we have a box that says “issues.” Whenever an issue comes up, someone writes the issue down to make sure it gets addressed.
We don’t make a big issue out of things, and my team understands that. Our issues section on our whiteboard just acts as a safe place to list things for us to get to the bottom of the next day in our morning huddle. That ensures we address things quickly, get back on track, and move forward together. We all have little things that happen in our practices. If we can address those things in real time, it helps prevent little things from becoming bad habits. And that prevents bad habits from becoming inconsistencies in the experiences our patients receive when they come in.
How do you maintain consistency in your practice?
If you aren’t using a whiteboard for practice goals, consistency, and accountability, you could be making life much more difficult for you and your team. You could also be making patient experiences subpar or inconsistent. A simple whiteboard could be all you need to make things run much smoother!
TAKE ACTION TODAY:
If you want step-by-step guidance on how to implement whiteboards in your practice, your next step is to learn more about our Marketing & Practice Growth Challenge. Hundreds of practices have gone through this challenge and experienced renewed purpose and energy in their work, clear tracking of their goals, AND growth in their production and revenue! Save your spot in our upcoming Marketing and Practice Growth Challenge here — use the code CHALLENGE for a 20% discount at checkout!
One of the most satisfying parts of working with dentists is helping them grow. Dentists often come to me overworked, stressed, and overwhelmed. They work too many hours for too little money and feel stuck.
The idea of growing a dental practice when you’re stuck in that situation might seem crazy. But there’s hope. The Delivering WOW process can help you turn chaos into focus and direction. It can get you excited about practice growth, sometimes for the first time ever.
Growth involves more than only marketing, however. You also need to have systems, processes, and support to take your business to the next level.
Here are seven strategies you can use to grow your dental practice.
1. Improving Case Presentation
Growing your dental practice can be measured in many ways but ultimately boils down to profits. One of the best ways to boost profits while helping patients get the care they need is to improve case-acceptance percentages. Many times, patients don’t accept treatment plans because of ineffective case presentation. Improve your case presentation, and you’ll dramatically increase your revenue.
2. Decreasing Supply Costs Without Sacrificing Quality
Many dentists unwittingly overspend on supplies. Saving lots of money on quality supplies has never been easier. All that savings can go straight to profit growth.
3. Understanding Insurance and Alternative-Payment Relationships
Navigating the insurance marketplace is an important part of effective practice growth. Dentists can grow by choosing their insurance relationships wisely. Helping patients understand insurance coverage and find other ways to afford care can have an immediate positive impact on your profits.
4. Reducing Patient Cancellations and No-Shows
Every no-show patient costs money that cannot be adequately recouped by charging a cancellation fee. Even if they pay a fee, collecting it can create tension and ill will. It can also cost team member time and energy to collect. Patient cancellation and no-shows are stressful. They are also avoidable.
5. Setting Fees Effectively
One of my favorite things I help dentists do is how set fees. Too many dentists leave time and money on the table because they don’t set fees well. That leaves them needing to work faster or longer hours just to keep their business going. They can make more money while providing better care to patients by setting fees well. My favorite way to do this by reverse engineering profits. That allows you to set fees in a way that helps you serve patients well while increasing profits.
6. Managing Your Finances Well
There’s a misconception in many businesses that controlling expenses means you need to be cheap. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is you can control expenses by effectively managing finances. Finding the right bookkeeping solution and working with a CPA who understands dental practices can help you take better control of your finances.
7. Streamlining Operations
Practice-management software is more affordable and impactful than ever. It can help you streamline operations by going paperless. It can help you automate appointment scheduling. It can even help you create recurring revenue by implementing in-house membership programs. Imagine not having to spend the time and energy managing insurance relationships while increasing your fees and generating recurring revenue!
What are you doing to grow your practice?
These seven strategies do a number of things to help practices grow. They automate and systematize operations, freeing up doctors and staff to participate in higher-impact activities. They help improve the return on investment in marketing by getting more patients to accept treatment plans when they come in. They reduce waste by saving money on supplies, reducing cancellations and no-shows, and help you manage your finances well. And they directly increase revenue by helping you create additional revenue streams, improve case acceptance, and increase your fees.
They also have an indirect benefit on your practice growth by freeing you and your team up to focus on getting patients for higher-revenue procedures, such as dental implants, crowns, and Invisalign.
TAKE ACTION TODAY:
If you want more help on implementing the 7 strategies for growing your dental practice mentioned above, check out the team of expert coaches, training, and resources we offer in our signature Delivering WOW Platinum Mastermind Program.